MILAN (VN) — Czech cyclist Roman Kreuziger faces a difficult legal battle to defend himself against accusations that he doped, based on past cases. Both the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed that an athlete has never won in appeal of a biological passport case.
WADA told VeloNews, “All passport cases brought before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) have resulted in sanctions.”
The sports high court in Lausanne, Switzerland, CAS, confirmed the same but noted that it reduced the ban of Turkish track and field athlete, Alemitu Bekele two years ago.
Bekele said that high-altitude training, an abortion, and bouts of malaria skewed her results, not EPO and blood transfusions. To the CAS, however, she simply appealed the length of her ban that was set at the maximum of four years. In March 2013, the court’s panel took into account the gravity of her case and time already served and reduced the ban to two years and nine months.
Kreuziger began his season in Tinkoff-Saxo’s yellow colors at the Tour of Oman last month, and is due to race Strade Bianche on Saturday and Tirreno-Adriatico next week. It is unclear which race results he would forfeit if his CAS appeal is unsuccessful.
His passport case stems from the 2011 and 2012 seasons when he raced with team Astana. Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, said that its experts have enough evidence to indicate that Kreuziger manipulated his blood via doping in the same period he won a stage in the Giro d’Italia and the race’s young rider’s classification.
In 2013, Kreuziger won the Amstel Gold Race and placed fifth in the Tour de France. He also admitted that he worked with banned doctor Michele Ferrari as a first-year professional, but said it was simply for training plans and not doping.
After sitting out half of 2014, the Czech Olympic Committee cleared him of wrongdoing. Kreuziger explained that UCI’s medics mishandled his samples and that his under-active thyroid gland may have affected his passport’s numbers.
The UCI and the WADA disagree, both appealed the committee’s decision to the CAS, insisting that Kreuziger serve a doping ban.
Kreuziger remains upbeat about his fight. At the Tour of Oman, Kreuziger told VeloNews, “There are people who’ve won [CAS biological passport cases]. In athletics. [Claudia] Pechstein. In cycling, too.”
The CAS found German speed skater Pechstein guilty in 2009 after she argued that genetic abnormalities triggered her case. What is particular in her case is that a Munich civil court essentially questioned CAS’s validity as a high court when, in January 2015, it agreed to hear her case.
Kreuziger will face the CAS next. The court has yet to set a hearing date, but history suggests he could lose his passport battle.